IT Transformation: Not Simple, but Can Be Simplified

Dell EMC PowerEdge simplifies IT’s transition from technology priorities to business priorities

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Today, CEOs increasingly expect CIOs to not only lead technology priorities, but also to strongly influence the company’s overall business vision and strategy. This is not how things used to be. And it’s changing how businesses leverage technology and how they view the tech vendors they work with.

In the past, IT departments were often viewed as sophisticated technology shops. They were knowledgeable, resourceful and could fix everyone’s tech issue. But, they weren’t necessarily involved with the company’s big picture. Today, IT departments are shifting from tech expertise to playing an important role in the company’s overall business priorities. They help create the vision and strategies that enable each department to succeed.

When it comes to IT Transformation, CIOs need to work with a solution provider that not only has the technology capabilities, but also the business-oriented expertise to help them with the transition. They need a partner that will listen, ask questions, take the time to truly understand their problems, and provide customized solutions that help simplify the process. This customer-centric approach is a Dell EMC strength, and one of the reasons we are ranked #1 by IDC in both server revenue and units in the first quarter of 2018.

When you think of Dell EMC, we want you to think “transformation simplified.” We are with you.

Transformation is a struggle for many enterprises, particularly those that were not born in the digital era. We get it. Even our own IT department isn’t immune from the challenges. My friend Bask Iyer, Dell CIO, shares a transformation example in the 2017-2018 Dell Digital Annual Report. Iyer explains how Dell Digital (formerly Dell IT) partnered with many different Dell Lines of Business to improve processes, build new products and enhance customer support. For us, everything centers on our customers. Michael Dell is obsessed with the customer experience and it’s why the whole company shares a “customer first” vision. By working with other departments to develop and implement solutions, our IT department helped to reduce customer care escalations by 25 percent year-over-year and improve our on-time delivery promise by over 40 percent. It was a team effort.

Dell EMC’s “customer first” vision permeates our internal product teams. It starts at the top, and filters through how we think about the next generation of server technology.

Our PowerEdge servers are designed with the key features that enable customers to transform their IT operations and infrastructure. This maniacal focus greatly influenced our strategy and I believe it has vaulted us to the top spot in the server market. We are proud and humbled that PowerEdge is the best-selling server brand, but what makes us most proud is how we got here. We earned this top position by listening to our customers, understanding their problems and business objectives, and partnering with them to develop solutions. Every PowerEdge server provides a solution to a customer problem.

One of my favorite examples of us helping to solve a customer problem is our partnership with European airline Ryanair. To many, Ryanair is in the transportation business. But to us, they are a technology business in the transportation space. Nintey-eight percent of their business comes through their production website. Downtime is detrimental. They are also growing rapidly and their existing infrastructure didn’t have the agility, speed or performance they would need for the future. We helped them modernize their infrastructure and today, Ryanair runs all of their line-of-business applications and their entire production web stack on PowerEdge servers. Ryanair is not only better prepared for today’s needs, but the flexibility and agility of PowerEdge sets them up for success in the future.

As we look ahead, our focus remains on our customers and what solutions they will need to succeed.

One huge area of focus for most of our customers is artificial intelligence. Why? It has uses across all business departments including HR, customer service, marketing, sales, product development and operations. Many of our customers have or plan to implement AI technologies within the next year. They’re excited about what AI, machine learning and deep learning can do in terms of business opportunities, and so are we.

Emerging workloads are based on data – lots and lots of data – and the applications will require new, modernized technology to process the data quickly.

These intense requirements are why we designed and built two new 4-socket servers, including the R940xa, which supports four CPUs and four GPUs. These servers allow customers to rapidly transform data into business outcomes, so our customers can make better decisions, faster and better serve their customers.

We’re reimagining how to build servers to fit the agile needs of modern business.

The next generation of modular server technology will be built with a kinetic infrastructure. Jeff Clarke previewed the PowerEdge MX on stage at Dell Technologies World. We can hardly wait to bring it to market later this year. The PowerEdge MX delivers a new level of flexibility to IT, with the ability to run workloads that were impossible to run in modular platforms of the past. Workloads like software-defined storage, network functions virtualization (NFV) and big data analytic environments.

Jeffrey Burt wrote an article for The Next Platform outlining the next generation of modular compute. He quotes our CTO of Server and Infrastructure Technology Robert Hormuth, who describes the move toward kinetic infrastructure. “We’re shifting to a world where data has a time-intrinsic value. You either process the data and get real-time results and a real-time experience delivered to your business or your customer or you might as well not process it.” He continues, “To make this shift, these workloads that are much more real time than the old batch world that we came from requires some different thoughts, different architectures and different flexibility than what we’ve done architecturally for the last 20 years.”

In his blog “Kinetic Infrastructure is the Path to Full Composability,” Hormuth further explains how kinetic brings the benefits of a modular design, but extends the flexibility of configuration down to the individual storage device and, eventually, all the way to memory centric devices. The infrastructure enables the ability to assign the right resources for the right workload and to change dynamically as business needs change. In other words, it releases the potential of the organization.

At the end of the day, releasing the potential of the IT department and the entire organization is what all IT leaders want.

Dell EMC helps you discover and live up to your potential. In fact, we strive to be a “fantabulous,” partner for all our customers. We’re proud of our #1 status, but will never become complacent or stop learning. We’re committed to our customers and continuously providing what they need to accomplish their goals. Generation after generation of servers, we listen, refine, and improve.

If you are a customer or partner, I want to personally say “thank you.” It’s an honor to build the server technology you use to innovate, compete, and serve your customers. We love hearing your transformation stories. Engage with me on Twitter @ravi_pendekanti to share yours.

And stay tuned.

About the Author: Ravi Pendekanti

Ravi Pendekanti is Senior Vice President of Server Solutions Product Management at Dell, Inc. His organization is responsible for developing and bringing Dell’s flagship line of PowerEdge Servers and Converged Infrastructure systems to market, covering a broad spectrum of global customers from cloud service providers and small businesses to large enterprises and organizations, all running a wide range of workloads. Most recently, Ravi served as the Vice President of the Platform Business Group at Oracle where he looked after GTM activities including Product Marketing and Sales Enablement related to the platform business that included Engineered Systems (Exadata, Exalogic, OVCA and SuperCluster), Servers, Solaris and Networking. With over two decades of extensive global experience in the enterprise and SMB segment in both hardware (servers, storage and networking) and software, Ravi has also held leadership roles at Juniper Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics. He holds a MS in Computer Science and BS in Electrical Engineering.